As expected, the Ministry of Justice published its consultation on the discount rate last week. Titled The Personal Injury Discount Rate – How it Should be Set in the Future, it contains 32 questions over more than 50 pages which require detailed answers, as well as a lengthy questionnaire seeking the respondent’s views on periodical payments.
Clearly, the aim is to establish how, when and by whom the discount rate should be set, and following what methodology. It may be reassuring to practitioners that the consultation is framed in a manner which suggests the continued use of a discount rate, hence the multiplier/multiplicand approach survives, subject to questions over the greater use of periodical payments.
On any view, the consultation period is short. Responses are required by 11th May, with Easter falling within those six short weeks. Following Brexit and Scottish independence, the phrase ‘this is a once in a generation opportunity’ is becoming worn, but surely this is a vitally important issue that just cannot be ignored? It is, indeed, a real opportunity to influence how personal injury damages are awarded. We will, of course, be providing a detailed response, as we did in relation to the last consultation, but would encourage all practitioners acting on behalf of claimants to make their own response.